UPDATED 1:43 p.m. ET: In a release, UCLA confirmed the hiring of Jim Mora as its next head coach. An introductory press conference will be held early next week.
“I am proud to announce today that Jim Mora has accepted the position of head football coach at UCLA,” said athletic director (for now) Dan Guerrero in a statement. “He has been a head coach at the game’s highest level and has clearly demonstrated to me that he is hungry and eager to return to the sidelines.”
“As someone who has been around the game of football my entire life, I have always held the UCLA job in the highest esteem,” said Mora. “Given its location and its tradition, UCLA is truly a sleeping giant and I realize that an opportunity of this magnitude doesn’t present itself more than once in a career, so I jumped at the chance to be a Bruin.”
A teleconference involving Mora and Guerrero is expected to take place Saturday afternoon.
Well, hiring your fourth choice is better than your fifth or sixth choice, right?
After being rebuffed by the likes of Boise State’s Chris Petersen, Houston’s Kevin Sumlin and Washington’s Steve Sarkisian, UCLA has finally found their replacement for Rick Neuheisel. The Los Angeles Times is reporting, and the Orange County Register is confirming, that the Bruins have reached an agreement with former Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks head coach Jim Mora Jr. to become their next head football coach.
An announcement expected Saturday, with the introductory news conference to take place this coming week at an undetermined date and time.
The reports connecting Mora Jr. to the job began to pick up in earnest the middle of last week after the Bruins’ overtures to other candidates were summarily dismissed.
The only experience Mora Jr., who is currently a color analyst for FOX Sports NFL games, has at coaching at the collegiate level was at Washington way back in 1984. And, as noted by the Times, Mora Jr. becomes the first head coach at UCLA since 1949 with no direct ties to the university, although his father Jim Mora Sr. was an assistant coach in 1974.
Mora Jr. last coached at any level in Seattle in 2009, when he was replaced by, oddly enough, Pete Carroll after he decided to leave the Bruins’ cross-town rivals USC for the NFL.